Skip to content

Personal document safety

It is quite common for students to lose their passports, wallets, and other key documents while they are abroad. Pickpocketing is also prevalent at many of the locations where tourists and study abroad students tend to congregate. While traumatic, if you have prepared adequately, you can minimize the disruption that this might cause.

A few words of advice before you depart:

  • If you don’t need it abroad, don’t take it with you.
  • Make copies of your passport, visa, credit cards, driver’s license and any other key documents and leave them with someone you trust.
  • NEVER pack your passport or any other important documents in your checked-in luggage or in your carry-on luggage. Passports (including visa page), ATM and credit cards, and money should be worn in a pouch or money belt as close to your body as possible.

and while you are abroad:

  • Keep copies of all key documents in a place that is separate and secure from the originals.
  • Never carry wallets in back pockets or easily accessible areas.
  • If you are carrying a handbag, make sure the bags have zippers and that they are close.
  • When carrying backpacks, make sure they have small locks.
  • When in crowded areas and on public transportation, make sure that bags are in front of you where you can see them.
  • If your passport is lost or stolen, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the U.S. Department of State (linked to below)
  • If your credit or ATM cards are lost or stolen, call your bank or credit card provider immediately to have then cancelled and reissued.

Additional resources: